I've spent the last 9 years with a sneaky little voice whispering over my should at every murmur of someone being re-diagnosed with cancer.
'When will the cancer return?" it quizzes me.
I consciously detach myself from the cancer adventure at every opportunity being cautious not to refer to it as MY cancer or MY diagnosis.
Although the experience becomes a part of your whole being – I don't believe I own cancer – it is not MINE. Similarly, in the way we refer to having a cold or a flu, I had a cancer! It was just an experience and I don't want it to define me.
I've worked hard over the last 8 years to recover physically and mentally. I've continued to monitor my body for inflammation with thermography (thermal imaging). However, when I sat on my local beach on the 11-01-18, having my personal 9-11, staring at the thermography reading I'd just received, I was shattered.
My breast was not happy! I'd known I was not 'right' intuitively for a few months and the thermography confirmed it.
What was different from 9 years ago was that I was a little wiser and connected to a network of amazing people and products. I'm now over a year down the track of the day I sat on the beach… and when my friend Emma from Bloom Inspiring Wellness, heard my story she convinced me to share it in her annual magazine.
During our chat we both started to imagine a world where:
- Every women was aware of the non-invasive tools available to them;
- And if a cancer was identified they have the opportunity to use these tools as a first step (if it was appropriate, given the severity), to address an inflammatory /cancer status;
- Then if there was no improvement, move onto the next treatment option. Imagine that!
Bloom Inspiring Wellness Magazine
Below is the interview that was published in the Bloom Magazine. **My responses in this interview are not medical advice, they are purely a record of my activities I undertook to reduce my breast inflammation.
[I've had the pleasure of supporting Bloom Inspiring Wellness for the last 4 years in their mission to empower, inform and guide families to live a healthy, happy and vibrant life. They do this by educating families to make good choices about what they eat, how they live and the products they use in, on and around them.]
My interview with Emma – How I used The Chemical Free Community to Avoid A Cancer Rediagnosis
Leading the way in chemical free living, Jillian Exton is the brain child and inspiration behind Chemical Free Community – an online resource that makes it easy for families to find ways to reduce their toxic exposures and supports the growth of chemical free businesses.
After graduating her own "cancer adventure", Jillian became aware of the risk factors associated with her situation, in particular the chemicals that surround our everyday environment. Jillian knew she had to make some changes, but frustrated at how difficult it was to start the transition, she decided to turn her frustration into motivation and create Chemical Free Community.
With a focus on health prevention rather than cure, Jillian shares her journey to empowerment.
Emma: Tell me when did your ‘cancer adventure’ as you call it begin?
Jillian: 4pm Christmas Eve 2009, and very much unexpected. With a background in physical education, I was fit and healthy with a good diet, so family and friends were completely shocked when they heard of the diagnosis.
Emma: How did you choose to navigate the journey?
Jillian: I committed to two of the three conventional treatment protocols offered by my medical team – chemotherapy and radiation which I didn’t take lightly as I had concerns about what the treatments were doing to my body – not just the cancer cells. I took a complimentary approach to the treatment with the support of my brother who’s a western medicine practitioner.
I did challenge the boundaries throughout the treatment to ensure I was minimising side effects of treatments. My home office was turned into my own personal cancer research centre. As I started to identified the risk factors that contributed to the cancer, I just kept ticking the boxes – stress, gynaecological issues, hormone issues, infertility, endometriosis, no children. So it became apparent that it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ it would happen, that was a real eye opener for me.
Emma: It must have been really confronting for you identifying those factors.
Jillian: Yes it was. To realise my body was capable of fostering the growth of cancer, meant I needed to revaluate my entire lifestyle and make changes to minimise the risk of its reoccurrence. This involved taking a good look at the whole spectrum, not just at the cellular level but everything from diet to emotions, hormones, stress, immune and my environment. That’s when I made the connection between toxic chemicals and cancer.
Emma: So that’s how Chemical Free Community began?
Jillian: Yes, that was the last piece of that puzzle for me. Toxic chemicals are a contributing factor to cancer, particular EDC’s (Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals) which act like estrogen in the body and would have been a large contributor to my ‘estrogen dominance’ state.
That’s when I decided to remove chemicals from my life and look for safer alternatives. I was searching for non-toxic cleaning services initially, and the more I researched and discussed with others it became apparent there was a gap, people were looking for safer alternatives to a whole range of services not just food and cleaning products, and that’s how the Chemical Free Community began.
The directory categories started with cleaning products and services, then the list got longer; beauty, hairdressers, pet care, pest control, holistic dentistry, dry cleaning, paints and carpets, mattresses, clothing, accommodation. It’s amazing when you delve in, there are so many everyday items that are impacting our health and adding a chemical burden to our bodys. For example:
- Conventional dental practices are toxic and fraught with health dangers from amalgam fillings and root canals.
- ‘Perc’ that’s used in our dry cleaning is classified as a toxin and a “likely human carcinogen”
- The plastic kettle with an exposed heating element in your kitchen or in your office is a source of BPA, phthalates and heavy metals.
You will find these, toxic free dentists, dry cleaners and other non-toxic services and products on the Chemical Free Community directory. We are still growing – it’s a big task!
Emma: There’s so much we take at face value and just don’t realise what lurks within, and we’re led to believe what’s on the shelves is safe when really there’s a lot of toxic stuff out there.
Jillian: Oh gosh yes there’s so many products with harmful ingredients on supermarket shelves and in everyday ordinary households.
Today the average person douses themselves with over 500 chemicals between having a shower and getting ready for work.
According to Chemical Abstracts Service there are over 130 million chemicals registered for use. Approx. 200,000 new chemicals are approved each week. It’s increasing at a phenomenal rate with most not being approved for human safety before being released.
These chemicals also keep changing their names, so it’s very difficult for consumers to know which ingredients are safe and which should be avoided. Take BPA for example, most people know that BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical, it interferes with hormones which has the potential to impact the reproductive system, this is why it was banned from babies bottles.
We now have ‘BPA FREE’ marketing on bottles so people automatically assume the product must be safe, but…
… what most people are not aware of is what it’s been replaced with. BPS is one popular substitute, so those who have done their research will know that this chemical is as bad if not worse than BPA because it is still within the same chemical family. Marketing has got a lot to answer for.
Emma: I’ve been an avid label reader for years and it still gets confusing! My philosophy is if it reads like a chemical then it probably is. Great thing is I’ve actually minimalised my shopping list going chemical free and saved money.
Jillian: It really is about going through your home, checking ingredients in products and minimising exposure. Chemical Free Community has been such a great resource. I love that there are now more non-toxic products and services available and if you're really set on finding alternatives you can find them, you do need time to hunt them down.
Emma: So establishing Chemical Free Community has been quite profound for you. The diagnosis in 2009 inspired you to create Chemfreecom.com, and then this year the community helped you to overcome a potential reoccurrence.
Jillian: Since finishing my treatment 9 years ago I’ve been focused on prevention. In addition to my regular appointments with my surgeon and oncologist, I've also been tracking myself with thermography, which is a digital image that identifies heat in the body – red indicates areas of inflammation and green indicates no inflammation. (More Info on Thermography)
I've actually been having thermography in Noosa since before the diagnosis in 2009, at that time the breast inflammation (later diagnosed as cancer) was highlighted as an area of concern, however I attributed that inflammation to previous surgery and didn’t take any action to investigate further. A year later I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Lesson learned!
Post cancer I have chosen to opt out of mammograms for a number of reasons (validity, hidden dangers) and maintain ultrasound and thermography as a means for early detection of breast cancer. I understand thermography is a controversial diagnostic tool. It has been my personal choice to use this tool and I am in no way advising this to others, please refer to the medical disclaimer at the end of this articles.
I had a very stressful year in 2017, being a confessed workaholic, I got myself into a stressful situation again. My body was telling me there were some things that were not right, but I kept pushing on.
Eventually when I got round to having my thermography appointment I saw the results showing red patterns on my breast and I knew instantly that was a huge warning sign. I could see my breast was in a state of inflammation, it was a very similar picture to the imaging I had a year before the diagnosis in 2009.
Although I was not formally diagnosed with breast cancer this time around, it was very clear that if I didn’t implement some changes immediately, then I would potentially be looking at a future diagnosis. I had four months before my regular yearly check-up with my surgeon, this gave me time to make some changes and an opportunity to reverse the inflammation with natural non-invasive options. Through the Chemical Free Community I had access to resources, people, product and services that could help.
Emma: So what protocols did you implement to reverse the inflammation?
Jillian: Referring to Dr V’s (Dr. Veronique Desaulniers) book ‘Heal Breast Cancer Naturally' as a basis, I developed a three level plan of action that introduced different treatments along the way. I wanted to have a structured protocol that addressed building my immune, killing cancer cells, reducing inflammation, managing hormones, minimising EMF and reducing stress. The plan needed to be achievable and not overwhelming.
I had access to a wealth of resources and professionals from the Chemical Free Community, so I made a few calls and gathered my team. Once I drafted my strategy I reviewed it with a naturopath to validate what I was planning was appropriate and if there was anything I was missing. My naturopath recommended Ribraxx, a product I was familiar with 8 years ago but it was not then easily accessed – now it is.
Parallel to my treatment strategy, I also put some things in place to reduce my exposure to EMF. I spend a large portion of my day online and I'm aware that EMF's compromise your immune system amongst other things.
Refer to Jillian's Protocol below.
Emma: How did you know you were progressing?
Overall what I found most invaluable during these stages of the program was having access to thermography. Every three weeks I would have thermography images taken, at Revival in Noosa, to monitor and track my progress to see if my patterns were changing.
I knew my body was fighting whatever it needed to fight and gradually the red started turning green, the changes were positive. By week 9, I had reduced my inflammation, 14 weeks I was predominately green and then 2 weeks after, I got the offical all clear from my surgeon at my annual review.
I continue on a maintenance program incorporating aspects of the protocol I used.
Emma: Wow that must have been so encouraging to be able to see the progress you were making. What have you learnt from this experience?
Jillian: This experiment has made me realise that my body has the ability to heal itself. The ability to identify the situation at an early stage, make some changes and then to be able to track it was both empowering and reassuring. It’s also made me realise I'm not indestructible and that I need to treat myself with care and not become a workaholic, which so many of us are guilty of these days. Looks like I needed a reminder!
I think it’s so important that we recognise what a healthy level of busy is compared to unhealthy busyness so we can maintain a level of balance.
Emma: Oh so true. I think we need to start a new trend of unbusying ourselves and seeing how life changing that can be.
Jillian: Haha I’m in!
This is not medical advice, it's purely a record of the activities and products I used to reduce inflammation in my body. I recommend nothing. I offer education, opinions and links to sites about the benefits and risks of treatment options.
What you do with those opinions and information is entirely your business and responsibility, much like your laundry.
This article, and every article published on ChemFreeCom.com doesn't replace advice received directly from a certified health care professional — ideally a well rounded, open minded, rational and compassionate health care professional, of course!
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